Our tradition lived on for another year yesterday when we hiked to the summit of my most favorite place in South Carolina: Table Rock. We added a new hiker to our adventures last year, and he was so much more aware of his surroundings and excited to be outside this year. He grabbed leaves and played with our hair, screamed at the top of his lungs both in joy and frustration, and made friends with everyone we passed who had the same idea as we did. We started early, but it was still hot despite our attempts to beat the heat; the good news is that the sky was clear and blue, something that hasn't happened since our very first time climbing up the mountain together.
Our hiking boots have seen many, many miles over the past four years, no doubt about it. None of them are as tough and rough on our bodies as the seven+ miles we do here each year. I attempted to carry Braxton up the trail, and my goal was to make it to the first overlook we came to, just shy of two miles in. I made it a little over a mile before I had to pass him off to his bigger, buffer daddy, and although I didn't reach my goal, I was proud of that one mile! There's always next year, right?
Our legs and knees were like cooked spaghetti noodles as we climbed back down, as usual, and Braxton even took a little cat nap on TJ's back (a rarity these days). We met people from all over the world (literally) and gave the same "I feel your pain, man" look and tone to every new person we met or passed. It always makes me chuckle to see the reactions of people who see us toting a little one with us; everyone is so encouraging and amazed. One man that we talked to as he climbed up and we climbed down said, "Keep showing him the world," and I am certain that his words will forever remain in my mind as I seek to do just that.
Four years of intentional hiking and exploring have come and gone, and it's amazing to reflect on all the changes that have arrived with each new year. It's fun and exhilarating to go to new places or visit your favorite places again and again, but the part I love the most is the people I'm with. These boys of mine are the best company, and we make a great team. Doing things you love with people you love; nothing is better than that!
One of these days that little boy on our backs will probably be big enough to carry his mama up to this summit on his back. But for now, I will cherish those little hands on my shoulders, those long legs poking out of the pack, that cackling laugh in my ear, his daddy pushing on towards the goal with no complaining (well, not enough to matter), and all the other little things that are the big things.
Here's to another year of making memories, remaining thankful, and seeking to glorify God with every breath that we breathe. Our Lord has been so good to give us a passion for His creation, and we are excited to walk through the earth as it's seasons change for another trip around the sun.
I wonder where we will adventure this next year?
Where will you?